Thank you for writing to me concerning the current unrest in the United States and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Racially motivated violence and police brutality are always unacceptable and run contrary to the common values that both the British and American public hold dear, including the right to peacefully assemble. I am encouraged that voices from both sides of the Atlantic have been raised in the common affirmation that black lives matter. I am especially encouraged that it appears legislation has been introduced into the US Congress that would make substantive reforms to policing in the United States. It is my hope that the worldwide conversation that has been sparked by the murder of George Floyd will lead to greater strides in the fight for equality, justice and peace.
Regarding your point about the export of rubber bullets, tear gas and riot shields – I am not aware of the exact situation here, but I am looking into this urgently. While we may have an export license, considering the size of the US defense industry and its large domestic market it might be possible that very little riot gear used in the US is produced in the UK. Again, I’m looking into this and hopefully we will have some answers soon.
On your point regarding the report here in the UK on the impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities, you will have seen that the initial report was published by the Government earlier this week, and it shows some stark analysis on the factors that increase the likelihood of suffering, and having a greater risk of dying, from Covid-19. These factors include age, gender, underlying health conditions and race. I am pleased that the Equalities Minister, Kemi Badenoch, has now been asked to take this report away and work urgently on practical solutions that can be adopted to ensure that all groups who are likely to suffer more from Covid-19 get better protection.
Here is a link to the first report published earlier this week:
As a British Member of Parliament, I might not have the influence and control over what happens in the United States, but I can assure you that I will continue to do my best to ensure we tackle racism and inequalities in all their forms, and treat everyone equally and fairly.
Thank you for taking the time to write to me on this incredibly important issue.
Sally-Ann Hart MP